Baule Peoples, Cote d' Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
H: 15 inches, W: 7 inches
Material: wood, paint (red, beige)
The Baule people are one of the largest ethnic groups in Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast). They belong to the Akan peoples who inhabit Ghana centuries ago. According to a legend, in the eighteenth century, the queen mother, Abena Pokua, had to lead her people west to the shores of Comoe, the land of Senufo. In order to cross the river she sacrificed her own son. This sacrifice was the origin of the name Baule, for Baouli means “the child has died”.
Baule art is sophisticated and diverse. Masks, sculptures, doors and other objects allow a closer contact with the supernatural world. A mask of this type shown here was danced for annual yam festival and also for entertainment during market days.